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Botox Advice from a Physician's Assistant and Botox Vet

BY: Editors | Apr 26, 2017

Botox has been widely embraced by Americans. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of Botox procedures performed increases by several percent each year (about 7 million procedures were performed in 2016; in 2000, only 786,000 were performed). Yet, it hasn't exactly become dinner party conversation, perhaps because there's still a stigma that getting the wrinkle relaxer means you're vain. So if no one you know will talk about their Botox experience, who do you turn to when you want real Botox advice that goes beyond the Botox basics?

That's where we can help. With the assistance of blogger Megan Stoeckl, a frequent Botox user, and physician assistant Emily Dowe of Epithereal Skin Care, we answer your pressing questions.

Is there a way to get Botox without looking like my face is frozen?

A good Botox injector knows how to administer enough units that the face can still move naturally, even while paralyzing wrinkle-causing muscles. But if you're really worried, you should start off with "baby Botox." This cutesy-sounding procedure just means that the practitioner will inject fewer units, around 10 in the forehead, for instance, instead of the typical 20–25 units used in this area. Bottom line, if you want a more subtle look, communicate that with your injector.

Should I tell people I got Botox?

Not everyone wants to disclose that they use Botox because Botox shaming is unfortunately still a thing. But society is slowly becoming more accepting of the wrinkle fighter, and nowadays, you can find plenty of celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Williams, each of whom openly talks about her Botox experience.

Meg, for one, isn't shy about talking about it. "I don't have anything to hide," she says, "and my experience has been so wonderful that I wanted to let others know about it." In fact, she wishes everyone were open about using Botox. That way, she could have heard about it sooner, instead of "wasting money on creams that have minimal effect."

And Emily says that "many of our patients are open to talking about ... positive experiences and results."

If I don't tell people, won't they notice my smoother skin and think it's weird that I said nothing?

Actually, people may not suspect that you've had Botox. Emily says that from most of her clients, she hears that "their friends and family think they look well rested or they had a good facial." Epithereal's approach, she adds, is to "strive for a natural look unless otherwise specified."

What if my results are too understated?

Emily has heard that patients say their Botox looks too subtle, but that's usually because the effects can take up to 14 days to fully show up. If you feel like you didn't get the look you asked for after that time, you can definitely go back to your injector and have them tweak their work.

Is it rude to ask a friend if she got Botox?

For Meg, it's all about tone. "I think as long as you don't ask in a negative manner, it's fine." If you're worried about offending, though, you can always tell your friend she looks radiant, and see if she volunteers a reason why.

I'm in my 20s and have noticed some lines. Is there such a thing as"too young to get Botox"?

Again, a lot of stigma is attached to Botox injections, especially when people in their 20s opt to get them. Yet everyone's skin ages differently, and a younger person could easily have more wrinkles than someone older, maybe because they've spent more time in the sun or are just naturally more expressive. Even if they don't have more wrinkles, they may want to use Botox as a preventative treatment. Ultimately, it's up to the provider to decide if injections are appropriate.

I can't decide if I should take the plunge. Help?

Maybe our video of a Groupon employee getting Botox injections will clarify things for you. If you still can't decide after the video and all of our Botox advice, think about it this way: you could always try it and see what you think. After all, the results aren't permanent, and if you don't like them, you never have to get Botox again.